Life has taught me some things about death. When I lost my grandmother some years ago, I found that I was unable to accept it. So, I pondered the situation and came to a conclusion: it is ok not to accept death in general or the death of someone close to you; because God doesn’t accept death either. Death is not OK with God; he hates it, and according to the Bible, it is the “last enemy that will be defeated.” When someone close to you dies, a piece of you goes with them; you will now have to find your new normal. You are now less than you were; you must re-calibrate, that’s just the way it is. Death is always a metaphysical subtraction from life.
Death is not a part of life; that’s a bunch of baloney.
There are not worse things in life than death; that’s a bunch of baloney also.
I have seen people in conditions that are so bad that you couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like; yet, they hang on to life anyway. Why? According to their testimonies, they are afraid to die. I know people who have a very limited life but want to make the best of what they have, and my career is all about helping them to do that. As long as they are in the fight, I am in it with them.
People hang on to life in hope that they will find some peace about death. They hope they will find definitive answers about death that will enable them to travel through that gate. In our culture that’s difficult because of propaganda spread by those who sell salvation. In geographies where people live from hand to mouth, you can always count on the following: popes, pastors, and self proclaimed apostles are living in splendor. Salvation is big business. What will a peasant pay to save their soul? Everything, including their last penny for one meal.
One of the biggest selling points of religion follows: the church is a sanctuary city from an angry God who wants to punish you in hell for every sin you ever committed. Our view of God and our perception of him is almost helplessly distorted. Christ is presented as a second God of grace that saves us from a God of wrath. This is behind the Christo-centric theology of the church which presents itself as the “under-shepherd” of Christ. The church sells the idea that individual reason and logic cannot understand reality; hence, what we read in our Bibles contradicts what we hear in church, and the result is total confusion about who God is.
Fear of death is compounded because of confusion about God. Fear is the church’s primary selling point. John Calvin and Martin Luther said so.
Hebrews Chapter 2:
Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority [that is, angels]. 9What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us [“pas” means “all” viz, he suffered death for all], he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace [love], Jesus tasted death for everyone. 10God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.
11So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12For he said to God,
“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.
I will praise you among your assembled people.”
13He also said,
“I will put my trust in him,”
that is, “I and the children God has given me.”
14Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had [past tense] the power of death. 15Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.
16We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. 17Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice [ONE] that would take away [not cover, or temporarily take away] the sins of the people. 18Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
NLT [My comments in brackets].
In the Bible; sin, fear, and death are synonymous. If one is still under sin, they are still in slavery to the fear of death. Note, in this passage, that the only thing that frees us from the slavery of fear is Christ’s death…period. Christ’s death makes it possible for us to be God’s literal children, and Christ’s brothers and sisters. We become literal family members of God. Christ went before us to free us from the fear of death.
Note what is missing here: Christ’s imputation of perfect law-keeping. If that is necessary, we are necessarily still under the slavery of fear and death. Perfect law-keeping, no matter who keeps it, is not what frees us from death’s slavery, only kinship does.
Without fear of death, religion has no product to sell, and there are other things that are very bad for business as well: the idea that God wants to save everyone; the idea that people are able to choose God to be free from the slavery of fear, the doctrine of the Rapture, and the idea that God hates death and gave his only Son to vanquish it from reality forever.
The stakes of life are highest in regard to the death issue, and reason’s logical conclusions regarding death and God are the only things that will assure us, and…
…that’s bad for business as well.